Patient A



This is a case study, stripped of its anonymity. At 22, Kimberly Bergalis was diagnosed with HIV. She was Patient A, a young woman who had in all likelihood been infected by her dentist. She lost her privacy, her health, and finally her life. Lee Blessing met this dying girl who had become a symbol of both virtue and villainy, and in his provocative play he shows Kimberly as she really was. Every case is a life and a death, and no one should be just a statistic. In the 1980s, Kimberly Bergalis was infected with HIV - most likely by her dentist - and overnight became a national star, activist and statistic. Playwright Lee Blessing was commissioned by the Bergalis family to create a new work about Kimberly's journey, from her prognosis to her death. Her case triggered very different reactions throughout the U.S.; to some Americans, she was the ultimate victim of a terrible disease - a virgin, non-drug user without any questionable medical history - but to others, Kimberly was yet another case that allowed the public to separate AIDS victims into those who were considered innocent and those deemed deserving of their fate. To tell the story fairly, Blessing placed himself in the play and added a third character, Matthew, a gay man who was also a victim of AIDS. With a delicate sense of responsibility, Blessing skillfully uses Kimberly's life as a reflection of the pain, suffering and frustration of all individuals, family and friends that are affected from AIDS in this country. As this provocative and poignant play shows us, the opposite of innocence is not guilt - it's knowledge. The Preview performance on Thursday, October 5 begins at 8:00 PM. The performance on Sunday, October 15 is scheduled for 7:00 PM instead of the usual 2:00 PM Sunday matinee time. This show is a special post-AIDS Walk Philly performance. A special Free Night of Theatre performance is arranged for Thursday, October 19 at 8:00 PM.

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